Location: Stirling Range Drive, Stirling Range National Park
Distance: 2.6km return
Trail Marker: Occasional wooden posts with white tops but trail is easy to navigate
Duration: 2- 3 hours
Cost: National Park Entry Fees Apply
Date Hiked: 3rd May 2019
Kml Map File: Please click here.
Mount Talyuberlup, or Talyuberlup Peak as some call it, has been on my to do list since last Christmas and finally I found the opportunity to get out there and hike this fantastic part of the Stirling Ranges. Actually, in fact this was my second attempt as last Monday I had convinced Dave and Sophie to do it with me...the problem was we got held up at home which delayed our departure so by the time we got to the Talyuberlup carpark, realistically it was too late to make it to the top for sunset. In fact, it was too late to make it to the top in daylight lol but my stubbornness certainly did not let that stop me and we tried. We got about 100m away from the elusive cave before I decided to head back down as it was pitch black. Thankfully we had torches but it's such a steep, uneven trail that it took ages to get down.
So after the first failed attempt left me feeling a little deflated, I was anxious to get back out there and was stoked to find some free time in my schedule. The weather was a bit all over the place so it wasn't certain until the night before. The previous rain forecast had been changed to clear skies so Friday morning I jumped in the car and began the 55 min drive.
I just want to start by pointing out that the Stirling Range Drive is TERRIBLE. I can see why so many people choose to avoid it. Even in the Troopy, it was extremely uncomfortable although my butt got a good massage from the vibration of the seat. There was so much vibration that the back sliding window shook open. I don't know if it gets graded at any stage but would be great to see some work put into the roads.
The carpark for the start of the trail is about half way along Stirling Range Drive, well marked, and on the south side. A nice little area with picnic tables set amongst Talyuberlup mallee trees for those who want to sit back and immerse in the area before or after the hike. It's also a nice little rest stop for anyone just driving through the range.
Mount Talyuberlup is the most dramatic rock peak in the Stirling Ranges with a jagged, pinnacled castle-like summit that sits 783m above sea level providing one of the most unique experiences in the range. The walk begins on the north side of the road with a gradual ascent along a single track through a forest of Talyuberlup mallee and Veronica's wattle.
Seems like a relatively standard trail to start off with, passing by the vibrant colours of Wildflowers in bloom when before long the peak appears above in the distance providing us with an indication of how short the trail actually is, which only means one thing, that it must be quite steep as well so it's time to get those calves working and climb that mountain.
Unfortunately the sun was in the wrong position so quite a few of the pics have a fair amount glare. Just means I will have to do it again soon, but in the afternoon..or maybe a sunrise:)
Enjoy the hiking through the mallee forest because when your out the real climbing begins with steep, uneven terrain. The trail narrows with quite a few overgrown sections, the trail is quite badly eroded but you can see a fair amount of work has been done to maintain the trail. I strongly advise against completely this walk in or just after a lot of rain as you'd be setting yourself up for a fall. I wore good quality, sturdy boots with good grip and still managed to slip on the way down twice. Lots of loose rocks and movement, no matter how experienced you are, the risk is real. You can see the damage done to the trees along the side from where people are gripping them to step up or down. I had my hiking poles but still in some cases had to use the trees/branches for extra support.
The views looking back over the range were a great excuse to stop and pause, taking it all in while catching my breath. I like to call it Interval Hiking haha Power on up, stop, pause and reflect a couple of times on the way up. The problem was that I kept getting blown away by the views which increased the length of time on the trail. It's easy to be completely immersed in experiences like these, where you are sometimes the only person in this section of the range. Time passes by ever so quickly.
The trail opens up shortly after, thankfully for me as I felt a little too closed in so embraced the wide open rocky sections which had a few rock overhangs that I imagine could be a good place to shelter from any bad weather.
Approximately half way up (according to my gps), you'll find a spur track off to the left that appears to go to a large rock. I decided to explore, the track was overgrown and I had to squeeze past some thick branches but it was worth it as I came to a large granite rock with some amazing views of the heathland below as well as up to the Peak above.
The next section was not my favourite, it's where I slipped up twice, but on the way back down. I retraced my steps back to the main trail and proceeded uphill. I saw my first main trail sign, a wooden post, top tip and red triangle, then realised I had to walk past the sword grass. I always find that stuff difficult to walk through because no matter how careful I am I always trip up on it.
It was the most exciting section though as the summit neared, but I would say the most challenging as it was here that most of the scrambling was required. It was this point that the hiking poles became a problem as I needed hands-free and because I only had my small backpack I couldn't put them away so had to climb with them.
It was then that I saw the first signs of the cave. I had read about it and back at the start on the trail-head sign it does mention it, in fact it says to not enter it. The signs when I got closer said to not stop or pause as the huge overhang above was unstable. I did have a quick sticky beak though but wasn't keen on walking through, although if it was going to finally collapse, I really don't think anywhere up there would be safe. Be interesting to see how long it holds for.
I took the trail instead that follows around the cave and got a better look from the other side.
It was after I walked around the cave that the jagged spears of Talyuberup Peak came into view. Saddened that the suns rays ruined my picture but you get a visual anyway. I was a little concerned at this point because I wasn't exactly sure where I was meant to go and was a little worried I'd have to climb the actual peak lol.
Looking closer I could see a trail marker over the other side of what looked like a valley below, made my way over and then saw the trail in fact descended down a short distance before another fairly major climb up to the peak. It honestly looks worse than it is.
I scrambled to the top, still not quite sure where I was going. There were no markers from this point, not that I could see anyway but I just followed the trail around to the right which led me to the top of the summit. The views were breathtaking
The summit of Talyuberlup is marked with a large round rock structure, almost like a birds nest, pretty amazing. It was very windy up there but It didn't deter me from sitting down to take it all in.
It's not everyday you get to sit on top of a mountain in one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world.
It was then time to return back to the carpark and being a linear trail, you take the same route back.
There was a time in my life when I preferred downhill over up.....trails like these however changed my preference quite easily. This trail especially I found quite nasty to head back down on. Loose rocks made things tricky, big steps and there was still a bit of water around from rain a few days prior which made it a bit slippery. Add sword-grass into the equation and I was bound for a fall.
I have said it already but I'll say it again, this is not a trail you want to do in the wet or even after heavy rain. Most of the trail has eroded from heavy rain so I could only imagine how difficult it would be to navigate your way in those conditions. The mountains are not going anywhere. Save it for a fine day.
All up, I spent 4 hours on the trail, but you have to remember I love to immerse myself in the experience and that I did. It can very easily be done in 2 hours but why rush such a magnificent hike.
As I departed the carpark and made my way back out to Chester Pass Rd, Mount Toolbrunup stood grandly ahead. A hike that will have to wait for another day.
Hopefully this post inspires you to visit and if so, we would love to hear your thoughts on the trail. Please feel free to tag us in your adventures.
We acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we walk, the traditional lands of the Whadjuk people & wish to acknowledge them as traditional owners paying respects to their Elders, past & present, and Elders from other communities who may be here today.